Floating Without A Paddle (Or River)

It was with great anticipation and some giddiness that I made the drive from Cane Hill to Stockton on Saturday afternoon for the 53rd Annual Black Walnut Festival Parade.

After weeks of glorious weather, it begins to rain. Light at first, then hard. Then nothing. Then it starts up again. Sometimes I think God is laughing at me.

Fine. It was raining with the threat of more to come, but that’s not unusual. Rain only stopped the parade one time that I can remember. Besides, I was confident that my seat atop the Class of ’83 float would have a nice awning or some adoring former-underclassman holding an umbrella over my head. I was their guest of honor, after all.

I arrived at the staging area at the appointed time and the float arrived shortly after. A flatbed trailer with a line of straw bales down the center. A torn banner along the side read “Stockton Class of 1983.” I assumed the “With Special Guest Ronnie Roy of The RROY REPORT” banner got torn and fell off on the way to the staging area.

A dozen Class of ’83ers climbed aboard and gave me looks that I could only decipher as “Who is that?” and “What’s he doing here?” I began to think AB lied to me about his classmates voting me onto their float. AB greeted me with a warm welcome and we were joined by the Garrison brothers. Had a good time reminiscing and then the float began rolling away.

John, Don and AB went running after it. My running days are long over. I figured I would just find The Wife and Son somewhere on the parade route and watch the show pass by, my float dreams put on hold for another year. But then, as is always the way with parades, things came to a halt and I caught up to the Class of ’83. The boys hauled me up with them and off we went. Slowly.

Finally my moment of glory would be forever captured for posterity as soon as we rolled past my photographer.

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See the umbrella in the middle of the photo? That’s me behind it.

Sometimes I think God is laughing at me.

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